Fri, 29 Sep 2023

Fever seeking first home win, host struggling Mercury

Field Level Media
11 Jun 2023, 03:55 GMT+10

The next step in the process for the Indiana Fever would be establishing a winning streak.

That opportunity comes Sunday in Indianapolis with a matchup against the visiting Phoenix Mercury.

"We're moving in the right direction," Fever coach Christie Sides said. "All we talk about is finishing."

The Fever (2-5) shed their long losing streak stemming from last season earlier this spring and then topped the host Minnesota Lynx 71-69 on Friday night.

The Lynx managed only 14 points in the fourth quarter.

"When we talked about holding them down, we can," Sides said. "We got those stops that we needed."

The Mercury (1-5) have dropped three games in a row, including the last two at Dallas.

Perhaps most alarming in the Dallas games was the combined 91-57 rebounding edge for the Wings.

"Right now, what we need is people to rebound," Mercury coach Vanessa Nygaard said. "Right now, we just don't have that."

Center Brittney Griner had a team-high 18 points for Phoenix in a 90-77 setback on Friday, but pulled in only five rebounds. Brianna Turner had a team-best eight rebounds off the bench.

Indiana, meanwhile, has had a player with a double-digit rebounding total in each of its last six games.

Indiana is 0-2 at home this season, so breaking through in front of its fans would be a bonus. The Fever's two prior home games came against the 2022 WNBA finalists, Connecticut and Las Vegas.

"It's only a matter of time," Fever guard Kelsey Mitchell said of achieving a sustained breakthrough for the team. "I think our group is really honing in."

Mitchell scored 22 points in the Minnesota game for her third game this season with 20 or more points.

Mitchell is averaging a team-high 17.4 points, while Fever rookie Aliyah Boston is putting up 15.0 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.4 blocks per game. NaLyssa Smith is averaging a double-double with 13.0 points and 10.6 boards.

Griner leads Phoenix in scoring (21.7), rebounding (7.3) and blocks (2.8) while Diana Taurasi leads the team in assists (6.3) and is second in scoring (17.3).

--Field Level Media

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